CRIME

Kaysville accountant charged, accused of stealing $2.5M from two Utah charter schools

Mar 6, 2023, 3:41 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Kaysville man was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than $2.5 million from two Utah charter schools “for his own personal gain and the benefit of his family.”

Cole Arnold, 39, an accountant for Academica West Services, provided financial services to several charter schools in Utah, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Utah.

From Aug. 2017 to June 2022, Arnold allegedly stole $2,563,348.23 from North Davis Preparatory and Ascent academies.

“According to the indictment, Arnold’s fraudulent activity included: creating false invoices, bills and credit card statements claiming fees for school supplies, teacher salaries, and other fictitious line-item expenses, for the purpose of generating payments to credit cards controlled by himself; creating false computer journal entries claiming a variety of school related expenses; passing fraudulently obtained money through Venmo and a bank account in the name of Upper Limit Innovation, a registered Utah business that Arnold was a co-owner and a registered agent of, to transfer the fraudulently obtained money.”

Arnold then used those funds, according to the release, for travel, concerts, cosmetic surgeries, home improvements, jewelry, furniture, electronics, and other personal expenses.

The 39-year-old has since been charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering.

His initial court appearance is scheduled for March 30 at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

The case was investigated by the FBI Salt Lake Financial Crimes Task Force.

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Kaysville accountant charged, accused of stealing $2.5M from two Utah charter schools